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Is it time to legalize prostitution in Britain?

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Introduction

Craig Muir 21-12-04 Is it time to legalize prostitution in Britain? Apparently if you go back through history, as far back as you can, as far back as we have records, you will find evidence of people selling sex for personal gain. It seems that prostitution has been around for a very long time and that the sex industry was thriving at least a few thousand years before the Industrial Revolution; a good deal longer than it's name suggests. So, it comes as no shock to discover that, many people consider prostitution to be the oldest profession in the world and that in some ancient civilisations the sex trade positively flourished. According to Claudine Dauphin, "Graeco-Roman domestic sexuality rested on a triad: the wife, the concubine and the courtesan", and this would have been the case for many centuries to come but, as she goes on to say, "the advent of Christianity upset this delicate equilibrium". However, although prostitution may have existed in most or every human culture in the past, it hasn't always been tolerated. It has been repressed, criminalized and, for many different reasons, fought against in many different societies. ...read more.

Middle

They would like to see prostitution outlawed and disappear from society for good. Donna M Hughes believes that under no circumstances should brothel owners or men who pay for sex not be prosecuted: "All legal reforms should aim to stop these perpetrators and profiteers." This is an interesting idea as, presumably, if the trade was to become legal then the government would become the criminals. Nevertheless, the economical benefits if prostitution was to become legal could be huge. The Royal Economic Society claim that the amount of money spent on prostitutes a year by people living in Britain is nearly double that spent on going to the cinema. As a result, they estimate that if prostitutes were taxed they would raise the Treasury an additional �250 million a year. (BBC News/UK 11-04-2001) Such a large sum of money could be beneficial to society if reinvested wisely. At present we can only assume that the vast majority of the revenue from the sex trade goes into the pockets of the criminal syndicates who run it. But, can we rely on the government? ...read more.

Conclusion

Certainly Donna M. Hughes doesn't think so. She claims that, "In the Netherlands, where two thirds of the women are immigrants and one-half of them are trafficked illegal immigrants, legalization has, in fact, increased prostitution and trafficking." If this is the case then it is the Dutch government who are to blame. Clearly they have failed in removing the criminal controlling element from the trade. But let us not be too harsh, illegal immigrants are a colossal problem throughout Europe and are working in inhumane conditions in many trades, not just prostitution. As with any legislation there will always be those for it and those against it, however, the issue of legalizing prostitution provokes more than a simple yes or no. Traditionally there has always been a barrier between sex and commerce, especially in Britain. People view sex as special, with more dignity perhaps, and as a result want to protect it. But there is another more fundamental reason for which, alone, prostitutes will never be accepted in society: Desmond Morris wrote, "Although they provide a valuable sexual service they also encourage pair-bond betrayal, and this will forever cloud their image. ...read more.

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